Monday, June 29, 2020


Breaking news:
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic.

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voting with the court’s four-member liberal wing but not adopting its reasoning. The chief justice said respect for precedent compelled him to vote with the majority.
I predicted this last October, when the Court agreed to take the case:
... ... does John Roberts really want GOP-appointed Supreme Court justices blamed for a sudden massive decrease in abortion availability a few months before a presidential election?

I think this raises the possibility that Roberts will join with the Court's liberals to say, "Hey, this is just like the Texas law, so I'm going to shock you by upholding precedent and striking it down."

... Roberts doesn't want potential Democratic voters angry and riled up, and he'll be pleased if Republican voters' takeaway is "We need to reelect Donald Trump because we obviously need even more right-wing justices on the Supreme Court." If I'm right, he'll take the heat -- the angry tweets from President Trump, the calls for his impeachment on Fox and talk radio -- if it leads to a Trump win and thus puts more Federalist Society corporatists on the bench. The right-wing judicial establishment has been playing the long game for years, and Roberts knows that an election year is a good time to fake being a centrist, even if the man who'll directly benefit from the fakery, Donald Trump, doesn't get it.
At the time I also predicted that Roberts would join with the liberals to uphold Obamacare, for the same reason -- but I didn't know then that the ruling will come after the election. For that reason, as I said last week, I'm more apprehensive about a possible overturn, especially because that ruling bears directly on the real reason the GOP Five are on the Court -- not to help the right win the culture wars, but to defend the interests of the rich and large corporations.

And speaking of which....

The president has broad authority to dismiss the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a 5-4 decision along ideological lines.

In the case of Selia Law v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the justices were asked to determine whether the director of the CFPB can only be removed before the end of their term “for cause” ― meaning some form of documented misconduct ― or if the president should be able to fire the director “at will,” even for nakedly political reasons.

In an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the five conservative justices held that those restrictions on the president’s authority to remove the head of an executive branch agency are unconstitutional.

The political significance of the case has always been much greater than the technical question at its core. Ever since Congress created the CFPB in 2010, the financial industry has been trying to disarm and destroy the agency.
Trump, Fox News, and the rest of the right will howl for the head of John Roberts, but he's still doing what he was put there to do.

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